May 18, 2024

Negotiation forms the backbone of many of our daily interactions: from setting deadlines with colleagues to conducting business deals with vendors and customers – many other activities depend on it as their foundation.

The best negotiators approach negotiations prepared with an action plan that gives them confidence, impetus and awareness, while helping them secure the best deals.

1. Know Yourself

Before entering into any negotiation, it is vital that you know both of your own power and that of the other party involved. Preparation is key for ensuring success during any negotiation – whether buying a car, asking for a raise or trying out for a new job!

Negotiators with success tend to be optimists; they aim high and anticipate an ideal result, giving them leverage to strike better deals or at least achieve greater outcomes than anticipated.

2. Know Your Counter-Party

Studies and experience suggest that individuals who enter negotiations worried about what could happen if they don’t obtain what they want may experience worse results than expected. Instead, prepare alternatives so you have greater bargaining power when entering negotiations.

Prioritize your interests before entering any negotiation and encourage your counterparty to do the same. That way, you’ll discover what matters most for both of you and create a strategy around that.

3. Know What You Want

No matter whether it’s for a pay raise, work flexibility or some other benefit, knowing exactly what you want from negotiations is vital to being successful in reaching a satisfactory resolution. But doing so might not always be straightforward.

Master negotiators possess the skills required to quickly adjust their tactics on the fly and achieve optimal outcomes during negotiations. Their goal should not be simply obtaining what they desire but instead creating deals that fulfill everyone’s needs.

4. Know What You Can’t Afford

Studies reveal that successful negotiators use advance planning as part of their approach to negotiations. They consider their ideal outcome, minimum acceptable offer and next steps if an agreement cannot be reached.

They understand which deals they can’t afford to walk away from and are aware that accepting bad deals would result in lost business, leading them to take a risk and push for better terms – as well as build the confidence of their sales teams at bargaining tables.

5. Be Flexible

Negotiation is a vital skill both personally and professionally, whether you’re trying to negotiate for salary increases, car prices or anything else; being able to compromise is essential in reaching agreements.

Negotiation strategies typically leave parties dissatisfied, fatigued, and hostile – but you don’t have to follow these paths.

Acknowledging the other person’s point of view first will increase their receptivity to hearing yours.

6. Be Creative

To avoid falling into a “win-lose” mindset where each victory comes at the expense of another party, search for multiple negotiable items and be creative when developing proposals and trade offers.

Negotiators should also be creative when coming up with fallback positions for negotiations if they become stuck, as this allows them to maintain healthy tension during the negotiation process and use tools such as making demands, asking open-ended questions, summarizing results and proposing conditionally.

7. Be Emotionally Stable

No matter your field or field of practice, negotiations are an integral part of life. Successful negotiation does not entail winning or losing; rather it entails finding solutions which work best for all involved.

Keep your calm and remain composed in order to maximize your chances of obtaining what you desire in life. Anxiety or panic could cause unwarranted reactions that could hinder any deal made in a stressful atmosphere.

8. Be Honest

Honesty is of utmost importance when it comes to negotiations. Lies can cost both sides the deal while damaging relationships. People quickly notice when someone is being dishonest and are less likely to trust them in future interactions.

Implementing these tips can help your team become adept at negotiation, guaranteeing everyone comes out on top. For more information about negotiating, refer to The Program on Negotiation which covers various negotiator styles, verbal and nonverbal communication elements as well as six stages of bargaining interactions.

9. Be Prepared

Negotiations is often a complex, unpredictable process in which neither side has complete control. The best negotiators take an proactive approach and prepare ahead of time so their deals maximize value capture.

They establish the needs of their counterparties at two levels: objectives that may be overt and expressed, as well as personal requirements that might remain hidden or understated. Furthermore, they anticipate how negotiations will go by considering various scenarios before initiating negotiations.

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